2017-11-01 / Front Page

Winter care for your animals

Winter’s cold air brings many concerns for those responsible for companion animals who must live outdoors. If you absolutely must leave them outside, make sure they have a warm, solid shelter against the wind, thick bedding and plenty of non-frozen water.

You can purchase water bowls or buckets that plug in to keep the water from freezing. Otherwise, check the water frequently, changing it to keep it from freezing.

The ideal dog house is usually no more than three times the size of the dog. This size is roomy enough for your pet to stand up, turn around and lie down comfortably yet small enough for your dog’s body to warm the entire house.

For best insulation, the dog house should sit 3 to 4 inches off the frozen ground. A four-sided base made out of 2x4’s willl lift the house off the ground and create an insulated air space for warmer air to circulate.

The dog house should be carefully checked for cracks or a leaky roof. A wet house can be very cold and uncomfortable for your four legged companion.

Since the wind can lower already bitter temperatures, it’s best to put the dog house in a place where the wind cannot come in the front door. The inside corner of a house or a fence can offer such protection. If there is no way to avoid the wind, a flap (such as a rug) over the door will help.

You and I consider blankets comfortable bedding. However they are not necessary for our four legged companions. Dogs often are perfectly happy with wood chips, straw or carpeting. Towels or rags may also be used. But don’t be surprised if your dog “rearranges the furniture” and you find the bedding out in the yard. Finally, make sure you clean out and change the bedding occasionally.

If yours is an indoor companion, his or her crate or bed should be kept in a warm, draft-free area, preferably elevated slightly off the floor.

Cats also need protection from the cold. An easy cat abode is a large, Tupperware like storage container, with a door cut out on one end. Just put soft rugs or rags, or straw, into the house. Tape a piece of carpet so it covers the open door and keeps the wind out.

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